City uses surplus property to support affordable housing

Mayor Murray announced several actions to create affordable housing by maximizing use of the City’s underutilized surplus land. The actions, as part of the recommendations from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), strategically uses City-owned properties to provide funds for, or as development sites for, affordable housing.

“We are in the midst of a housing affordability crisis that demands creative and bold solutions to ensure that working families and residents are not priced out of Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “The City of Seattle owns property across the city, and the HALA committee saw an opportunity to leverage these increasingly valuable resources in this current market to support the construction of more affordable homes.”

There are multiple ways that City property can support affordable housing – from developing affordable housing on City-owned land to selling land for affordable housing funds:

  • The Seattle Office of Housing recently listed for sale two small vacant parcels at 1415 East Yesler Way and 1429 South Jackson Street that will provide over a million dollars to finance the production and preservation of affordable housing. These underutilized properties were assessed as too small to efficiently accommodate affordable housing, yet valuable as a source of dedicated funds for housing in the area.


  • Proceeds like those from the Yesler and Jackson parcels allow the City to fund the strategic acquisition of buildings such as the Kuniyuki Apartments (110 14th Avenue), a few blocks away from these surplus properties. This privately-owned building in the Central District was at risk of losing affordability restrictions. The City worked with Catholic Housing Services and community partners from the Central District to acquire and preserve this property for use as affordable housing for generations to come.
  • The Office of Housing also intends to issue a Request for Proposals for an affordable homeownership development at a City-owned property in the Judkins Park neighborhood (1312-1326 Yakima Avenue South). Sites zoned for single-family homes are ideal locations to provide opportunities for affordable homeownership opportunities for low-income families.

Additionally, Mayor Murray has directed the Office of Housing to continue to assess surplus City-owned properties to determine how they can support affordable housing in Seattle.

“We know that it will take a variety of tools, including strategically using City-owned properties, to address the affordable housing crisis in our city,” said Steve Walker, director of the Office of Housing. “We are dedicated to using existing City resources like these to get closer to Mayor Murray’s goal of creating 20,000 affordable homes over the next 10 years.”

Mayor Murray’s HALA plan calls for the creation of 50,000 new homes over the next 10 years, with 20,000 homes preserved for low-income families in Seattle. Using City-owned properties to support affordable housing is just one of the over 65 recommendations.


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